Exploring to the Fullest Potential

By Anabela Mok 2021-06-07 13:06:02

How applied learning and co-curricular experiences at Concordia International School enrich student learning.

The road to college begins even before applying to university. In today’s world there are so many occupational fields, having hands-on experience can help students identify a major and give them direction in building a career.

Being prepared for university starts with students exploring their interests and then finding the appropriate university to harness their talent. Having the confidence to be curious gives them an edge when it comes to taking charge of life’s big decisions.

At Concordia International School, students are given the opportunity to explore their personal and academic interests with Applied Learning. This program was developed based on research into how students identify personal interests, develop passion and purpose, and practice skills and a mindset that translates to success in college and beyond.

When this applied learning is taught in conjunction with other high-level courses, like the Advanced Placement and co-curricular experiences, it allows students to dive deeper into a subject while exploring the full range of their capabilities, talents, and passions.

What are the benefits for Applied Learning?

Concordia’s Applied Learning courses contextualise learning through direct application, academic rigor and a focus on process skills. Most include learning and experiences outside of the classroom, a flexible curriculum that responds to student input, opportunities to apply knowledge and skills across disciplines and a chance to work with experts in a related field.

Applied learning incorporates project and inquiry-based learning that is authentic, active, and relevant. For instance, in Social Entrepreneurship, students collaborate to run their own social enterprises. They use business skills and strategies to address social, environmental, and economic problems innovatively and sustainably.

Students in the Big Data Analytics class develop an understanding of the theory of data analysis and have opportunities for hands-on experiences utilizing data in practical, real-life contexts. Students in the Marine Research course are also provided unique hands-on opportunities. They receive PADI certification and participate in open water dives to measure the environmental and human impacts on a reef system. The data they collect is added to a global database and used by scientists worldwide.

In the Epidemiology course, students use statistics and principles of disease transmission to analyse data related to the development and cycle of pandemics, effectively exploring how science and statistics join forces to save the world every day. Then there is the Business and Finance course, which equips students to navigate the business and financial landscape of the global economy by exploring aspects of capital markets, business psychology, marketing, and finance. Finally, in the Global Development Studies class students have a chance to conference with real world change makers who are helping make the world more green, sustainable, and equitable.

How does applied learning along with co-curricular activities give students an edge?

Applied learning at Concordia helps strengthen problem solving skills, understanding, and transference, across disciplines. When combined with other academic offerings and co-curricular experiences, learning becomes more challenging, coherent, and meaningful.

In her economics, global development, and environmental science classes, Claremont McKenna College bound senior, Isabel C. was able to examine how environment, economics and social issues are interconnected. Through her involvement with the Global Issues Network (GIN) club, she looked for ways to develop sustainability initiatives such as reducing food waste and improving recycling systems. This led to her internship at Loop Swimwear, a Shanghai-based eco-friendly fashion company that makes swimwear from recycled plastic bottles.

Global Studies Development and GIN also had a significant impact on Lillian F., who will matriculate at Northwestern University. What she learned in the class helped inspire the activism and leadership she carried out in GIN and the Sustainable Success club, a club she helped to found. She shares, “Concordia’s mentality of being ‘active global citizens’ has really shaped my vision of what I want to study and who I want to be.”

Hannah S., who will study Marine Biology at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, thinks her college application stood out due to prior experience in her marine science class as well as from participating in co-curricular opportunities like the Marine Ecology Research Program. “Having been on the marine ecology trip twice and being a certified scuba diver, I think, made my application stand out from others.”

High school senior Jerry L. credits Social Entrepreneurship for fostering his interests in business and social impact. “The range of experiences that Concordia offers through its curriculum has allowed me to explore so many different things, academically and personally. Perhaps that’s the reason why I’m so fond of an interdisciplinary college education.” Jerry will attend Brown University this fall.

How are co-curricular activities integrated into school life at Concordia?

Concordia’s co-curricular programme includes activities, sports, and clubs that run parallel to the curriculum and provide experiential learning and an opportunity to explore topics of interest. The programme aligns across grade levels, offering a thematic thread of intentional, age-appropriate activities starting in the early grades up through high school.

Co-curricular activities at the elementary grade level are generally held after school and focus on further exploration in the areas of STEAM, literacy, service and leadership.

When Concordia students enter middle school, they can participate in sports activities organized through the China International School Sports Association (CISSA). There are organized practices and competitions in Cross Country, Table Tennis, Soccer, Badminton, Volleyball, Basketball, Softball and Track & Field. Additionally, they can attend non-athletic co-curriculars in the field of Literacy, STEM, Exploration, Service & Leadership, Fine Arts.

By the time students are in high school, they are encouraged to focus and dive deep into activities for which they have a passion. At this level, there are increasing opportunities for competition and collaboration in sports and also in non-sporting events, which may include travel throughout Asia as part of the Asia Pacific Activities Conference (APAC).


For information about Concordia International School, please contact the switchboard at +86 21 5899 0380 or email admissions@concordiashanghai.org.